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Gunter: Trump must back ITC to stop South Koreans unplugging U.S. appliance industry

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Samsung and LG, who are Korean corporate giants in the appliance and consumer electronic industry, have each pledged large investments in the United States. But a new report from the International Trade Commission casts doubt on whether they’ll follow through unless economic safeguards are implemented.

These investments would come in the form of two home appliance manufacturing plants — a $380 million Samsung factory in South Carolina and a $250 million LG factory in Tennessee.

While the commission’s report acknowledges that the communities housing these plants  would eventually benefit, it concedes that without safeguard relief, these investments might not be fully realized.

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“In the absence of safeguard relief, however, LG and Samsung would have less of an economic incentive to follow through fully on their planned investments, particularly in light of their substantial recent investments in LRW production for the U.S. market in Thailand and Vietnam,” the ITC report states.

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Without economic protections in place, more and more companies may choose to move their operations abroad. In a recent example, Mondelez, Rexnord and Brake Parts Inc. relocated their manufacturing operations from the United States to Mexico — taking full advantage of low labor costs and lax regulations.

An exodus of American manufacturing is completely unacceptable.

In order to provide “safeguard relief,” the ITC’s report recommended that a graduated tariff be placed on all imports of washing machines above a 1.2 million unit threshold. Initially, the tariff would start at 50 percent, decreasing to 40 percent by the tariff’s third year.

Proponents of global free trade might balk at such a measure, citing a level playing field for all. However, Samsung and LG already have unfair advantages over their competition in the United States.

In one instance, South Korea’s central government gave Samsung a direct subsidy of $155 million, violating international trade law and giving the corporation a significant advantage over its competitors.

If the economic measures recommended by the ITC were enacted, corporations like Samsung and LG would have a greater incentive to invest in American manufacturing — providing more jobs for American workers.

Additionally, the United States currently has a trade deficit of $19.8 billion with South Korea. Countering unfair behavior by South Korean firms would dramatically help bring the trade deficit into balance.

President Donald J. Trump is expected to make a decision on implementing the graduated tariff by early 2018. Should he cooperate with the office of the United States Trade Representative to enact the ITC’s recommendation, it would certainly fulfill his “America First” campaign promise.

Otherwise, if economic protections are not established, more and more companies may choose to move their operations overseas.

 

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Big League Trade

POLL: 77% of Americans Blame China for Coronavirus Epidemic

China lied. People died.

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More than 77% of Americans are placing blame upon the authoritarian Communist government of China for the global coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Harris poll.

The poll draws from a sample of 1,993 American adults. Even 67% of Democrats place blame upon China for the global pandemic.

66% of Republicans state that President Trump should implement strict trade measures on China, with 38% of Democrats agreeing. Even more Americans agree with buffed tariffs on China is the nation fails to live up to its commitments to purchase more American goods and products under a recent trade agreement with the United States.

China’s actions to conceal the severity of the coronavirus pandemic- with many believing the Chinese Communist Party to be systematically concealing diagnosis and casualty rates- have led to a global blow to the nation’s reputation. Major nations have already begun plans to bring back manufacturing businesses from the country, which has risen in geopolitical significance on the back of outsourcing manufacturing from developed countries.

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China also has utilized its handpicked puppets to advance its interests through global institutions, with the pro-Chinese director of the World Health Organization claiming on Thursday he was the target of harassment campaigns from Taiwanese internet users. The WHO has been largely more fixated on protecting China’s interests than warning the global public of the threats posed by the coronavirus.

As popular skepticism and concern towards China grows among the public, it’s worth noting that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a lengthy track record of favoring further cooperation and partnership with China. Biden has supported virtually every single trade deal allowing the nation to gobble up outsourced American jobs and manufacturing, even going so far as to openly reject claims that China is an essential geopolitical and economic adversary of America.

The age of outsourcing key elements of our economy in pursuit of cheap labor- leaving our national access to key goods and services to authoritarian kleptocrats- may be destined for an end as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

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